1. So, who is Richard and what were you doing before starting your own business?
Well, I am a Yorkshireman born and bred. I completed my A Levels at college in my hometown of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, before moving to York where I attended university. I studied Business Management at the University of York and after graduating in 2012 worked at various advertising agencies. After that, I decided to turn my passion for food into a business venture called Yorkshire's Finest Foods.
2. How has your combination of technology and food helped the business?
It’s amazing how much technology has become an integral part of business. As an internet business I rely entirely on being connected. My online store can be monitored on my phone, tablet and desktop. I know as soon as an order comes in, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. It gives me the ability to keep on top of my workload but still have a life, which isn’t usually the case with a physical store. This allows me to run the business with much lower overheads as the only employee, which of course is a big benefit to the business.
3. Who are your competitors?
I don’t think I have competitors to my business, more towards the products. By setting up Yorkshire’s Finest Foods I have created a niche; all fresh, locally sourced produce from Yorkshire and not the generic dry produce you get from supermarkets. However I wouldn’t say supermarkets are competitors as they don’t sell the same quality produce as myself, which helps to get the supermarket customers away from the widely available and mass produced food and show them the value of fresh, proper food.
4. Being a young entrepreneur, what do you enjoy the most about running your own business?
It is nice being your own boss but you also have the freedom of taking your business where you want it to go. Also, as I am currently the only employee of the business, I get to set the price rates which ensures I can offer a fair rate of pay to both the producers and the customers.
5. What is the biggest lesson you have learnt so far?
As I am a relatively new company I feel I still have a lot to learn. However as my company is owned and funded on my own money, there is less pressure to make a profit straight away. I love what I do and food is a huge passion of mine, so I am grateful I can fulfil my passion every day I am at work.
6. Think back to when you’d just started out – what did you know now that you wish you’d known then?
Although it is nice being your own boss and being able to make crucial decisions, you can’t do everything yourself! Sometimes it does help to hire professionals to work alongside you.
7. What was your first customer feedback?
Believe it or not my first customer was my dad! As he is a big food lover he tried some of the produce I was hoping to sell. Hearing the words “You’re onto a winner there, son” is the best customer feedback you could ask for.
8. Where are your products sourced from?
All the produce sold at Yorkshire’s Finest Foods is sourced from artisan, independent producers and farmers from around the Yorkshire region. We only sell produce from Yorkshire.
9. Sell Yorkshire’s Finest Foods in one sentence:
Fresh, local, artisan produce made only by the finest producers in Yorkshire.
10. What is your best tip for starting a business in the food industry?
Get to know your suppliers. They are often a fountain of knowledge, offer inspiration and are always willing to help.
11. What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs like yourself?
Do your research and plan, plan, plan. Once you’ve done that, dive in! Go for it. Don’t get scared.
12. Where do you see Yorkshire’s Finest Foods in the next 12 months?
Hopefully continuing to grow. I would like to take on some staff and introduce more produce and producers to the website. I would also like to visit more food markets and expand my customer base.